(how to tell the biblical story
in a way that makes a difference)

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All the world’s the stage: a narrative-historical revision of Wright’s five act play hermeneutic A friend sent me a link to a short talk by Tom Wright in which he explains his now quite well known five act play model of biblical authority. There are two further parts to the talk on reading the scriptures as narrative and on how the church can improvise its own narrative. I recommend it. I like... (14th Sep. 2016 | 3 comments)
What should we do with the lost and found parables today? The three stories told in Luke 15 about something or someone that is lost and then found are not about us, were not addressed to us, were not written for us. They are certainly not vehicles of a universal evangelistic message about lost sinners who need to be saved by the atoning death of Jesus and... (8th Sep. 2016 | 0 comments)
Discipleship and the eschatological narrative of 1 Corinthians I have to prepare some material about discipleship for a small leaders’ retreat. The approach I want to take is to frame discipleship narrative-historically. No surprises there. One way to do this is to take a very practical letter with strong discipleship content, such as 1 Corinthians, and try to... (30th Aug. 2016 | 5 comments)
Greg Beale’s multi-storied new-creational kingdom theology The basic thesis of Greg Beale’s A New Testament Biblical Theology is i) that the Old Testament gives us the story of how God “progressively reestablishes his new-creational kingdom out of chaos”; and ii) that this storyline is transformed in the New Testament inasmuch as Jesus’ life, death and... (23rd Aug. 2016 | 14 comments)
Daniel’s Son of Man is not the Messiah—he’s just a very naughty symbol* I argued a few weeks back that the “son of man” figure in Daniel 7:13-14 is not an individual messiah or an angel or divine hypostasis (i.e., a manifestation of some aspect of the godhead) but symbolically represents that part of Israel which remained faithful to the covenant, at great cost, during... (19th Aug. 2016 | 5 comments)
Who binds the strong man? And why? And when? And how? The scribes claim that Jesus casts out demons by the prince of demons, and Jesus says that’s a stupid accusation to make because it would mean that Satan is fighting against himself. He then puts to them a little parable, the point of which presumably is that he is able to cast out evil spirits... (17th Aug. 2016 | 2 comments)
The place of the cross in the biblical narrative In a series of talks at the Communitas International (formerly known as Christian Associates) staff conference in Budapest recently Greg Boyd argued 1) that American Christianity has been compromised and corrupted by its close association with state and especially military power; 2) that European... (11th Aug. 2016 | 7 comments)
Mission - the narrative-historical board game What is the mission of the church? Conservatives will say that the mission of the church, at core, is to save people. Other activities, no matter how laudable, are secondary to this task because there is nothing more important than a person’s eternal destiny. More progressive types will say that... (26th Jul. 2016 | 8 comments)
Who is Daniel’s son of man? Who is the “one like a son of man” who comes with the clouds of heaven to be presented before the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:13? Collins calls it “perhaps the most celebrated question in all the apocalyptic literature”.1As far as modern scholarship goes, three interpretations are generally... (21st Jul. 2016 | 12 comments)
Hurtado’s critique of Wright’s account of Paul’s christology Larry Hurtado has uploaded a pre-publication version of his contribution to a response to N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. As the fashion goes these days (How Jesus Became God / How God Became Jesus) the new book is cleverly called God and the Faithfulness of Paul: A Critical... (11th Jul. 2016 | 12 comments)
Double Post-Tribulational Pre-Amillennialism A question about the relation of my narrative-historical reading of New Testament eschatology to postmillennialism led me to the Wikipedia article (along with other fine resources), which has a simple diagram illustrating the four main species of millennialism. I’ve reproduced the diagram here with... (4th Jul. 2016 | 7 comments)
16 reasons to think that the “age to come” is now and in history My reply to a question from Ian Paul (see his excellent Psephizo blog) got out of hand, so I’ve posted it separately here. Ian thinks that my argument about the “age to come” being now and in history smacks of a discredited postmillennialism and wants to know what support the New Testament offers... (30th Jun. 2016 | 4 comments)
N.T. Wright and Paul’s eschatology (with coloured beads) In Paul and the Faithfulness of God N.T. Wright locates Paul’s eschatology firmly in a Jewish hope, rooted in scripture, “not just for an individual future after death, but for a restoration and renewal of the whole nation, and perhaps even for the entire created order” (1043). It gives me the... (29th Jun. 2016 | 5 comments)
Is suffering part of God’s plan for us? A couple of recent tweets from The Gospel Coalition raise the question of the place of suffering both in the New Testament narrative and in Christian experience. The first is an unattributed quotation, though I’m betting it’s John Piper: “Suffering is actually part of God’s plan (and so necessary)... (21st Jun. 2016 | 7 comments)
Some observations about divine Sonship in Hebrews 1 What is primarily said about Jesus in Hebrews 1 is that he is the Son whom God has “appointed the heir of all things”. After making purification for Israel’s sins—not the sins of the world—he “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”, which of course invokes Psalm 110:1-2 and the... (17th Jun. 2016 | 0 comments)
Is the “eternal generation of the Son” a biblical idea? Part 1 As much out of morbid curiosity as anything, I have been following the intra-Reformed debate over the eternal subordination of the Son rather closely. Posts, counter-posts and counter-counter-posts from some hard-hitting theologians have been proliferating at a great rate. For no very good reason—... (15th Jun. 2016 | 5 comments)
Trinity, subordination and narrative in Hebrews 1:1-2 Following on from yesterday’s piece on “The subordination of the Son, and why it has nothing to do with gender”….In response to accusations that his subordinationist Trinitarianism is a departure from orthodoxy Bruce Ware, who is Professor of Christian Theology at the Southern Baptist... (10th Jun. 2016 | 4 comments)
The subordination of the Son, and why it has nothing to do with gender There has been a furious flurry of posts (see below) from various directions this week laying into the argument of some neo-Calvinists (Wayne Grudem prominent among them) that the eternal subordination of the woman to the man is directly underpinned by the eternal subordination of the Son to the... (9th Jun. 2016 | 1 comment)
Craig Keener and the fallacy of mutual submission Craig Keener, who certainly knows a thing or two, has written a piece on Jesus Creed reaffirming the common egalitarian argument that Paul prefaces the instructions to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33 with an exhortation to mutual submission. I count myself a dyed-in-the-wool egalitarian,... (6th Jun. 2016 | 1 comment)
What must the church become? Narrative and praxis An opinion piece in the Guardian last week asked, “Is the end of western Christianity in sight?” On the strength of the most recent British Social Attitudes data the article asserted that “No religion” is now by far the largest self-identification in England and Wales, that the mainstream churches... (2nd Jun. 2016 | 10 comments)
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